Lizzy

The 12 Best Binoculars For A Safari- Reviews And Insights

As you plan to get your binoculars for a safari in Africa, let us get to know them better.

The ability to be part of the chase as a cheetah hunts a gazelle, as a pride of lions takes down a buffalo with military precision, and as a falcon feeds its chicks, having a Safari in Africa is a never to forget experience all thanks to binoculars.

Binoculars use the science of optics to take you right up to the action, without putting you in any danger, or discomfort and they sure are part of what you should pack for a safari to Africa.

How Do Binoculars Operate?

Binoculars work on the principle of light refraction, and how prisms/lenses use this property of light.

(if you already know what binoculars are, please just skip to the next heading, thanks)

When light passes through different media such as air, glass, or water, it either bends inwards or outwards depending on the density of the medium. This property of light is called refraction.

A lens is a piece of curved glass, through which light is either transmitted or refracted.

There are two types of lenses, concave and convex.

  • A convex lens is thicker in the middle and thinner towards the sides, helping light refract and focus inwards. The objective lens of the binoculars is a convex lens.
  • A concave lens on the other hand is thinner in the middle and thicker towards the sides. The light refracts outwards forming larger images of smaller objects, behaving like a magnifying glass. The eyepiece of the binoculars is made of a concave lens.


The objective lens and the eyepiece are just two parts of a big setup.


When light from a faraway object passes through the objective lens, it produces an upside-down image as a result of the light crossing.

The eyepiece lens also won’t be able to solve the issue, which is where prisms come into play.

A prism is a 3-D piece of glass, which rotates and reflects the image. In binoculars, prisms rotate and invert the image by 1800 to obtain an upright image.

There are two sets of prisms in each binocular tube and there are two types of prism arrangements, namely roof prisms, and Porro prisms.

  • In Porro prisms, the two prisms are arranged side by side at 90o which results in a bulky binocular structure.
  • In Roof prisms, the prisms are arranged in a straight line along the line of light propagation.

Piecing all the information above, we can conclude that rays pass through the objective lens to form a magnified inverted image of the distant object.

The arrangement of the prisms rotates the image by 180o and the eyepiece, in turn, produces a magnified image of the initial image.

This happens to both the right and left tubes of the binoculars.

To be a little bit clearer, please check out this video on what binoculars are, and make it a bit easier on yourself haha! (I got a bit carried away there)

Different Types of Binoculars

There are different types of binoculars and I will try to explain this here:

  • Mini Binoculars/field glasses

They are portable and fit into your rucksack quite easily, they may not be as powerful as the full-sized binoculars but they serve their purpose quite well.

  • Zoom Binoculars

These binoculars specialize in changing the level of magnification of the lenses according to your needs.

  • Wide Angle Binoculars

These binoculars have a wider field of view than normal binoculars, enabling coverage of more range. These binoculars are ideal for wildlife and game spotting!

  • High-Powered Binoculars

These are used as an alternative to telescopes by astronomers, due to their high level of magnification.


How To Choose Binoculars?


When choosing binoculars here are a few things prospective buyers and adventures need to note

  • When buying binoculars, you should have a use in mind for them.

    They shouldn’t be too expensive that you’re afraid to take them anywhere, or maybe so heavy, and cumbersome you‘d rather leave them behind.

    Binoculars are meant to be used and not sit on a shelf somewhere idle.

  • If you want something light, and small enough to fit in your pocket, that you can take out in a pinch and see that elephant while on a safari in the wild, then a pair of inexpensive and small pair of field glasses will work.

  • If you intend to carry out some serious bird watching or astronomy with the binoculars used in a static location or a hideout then you should invest in some heavy, better quality, and expensive pair of binoculars.

  • For those planning to have their binoculars glued to their eyes for long periods of time, then good-quality lenses are a worthy investment. Don’t damage your eyes.

  • More magnification doesn’t always mean better binoculars. The more the lens magnification the more the effect of your hand movements will be magnified.

    Also, higher magnification binoculars show you less of the scene at a go; a smaller field of view.

  • If you plan to use your binoculars in the rain, you’ll need weather-proof and fog-proof binoculars that are filled with anti-fogging argon or nitrogen gas, and fitted with rubber grips and good rubber eyecups to ensure a tight seal around your eyes.

  • A good pair of small, and light field glasses are always a good option to have, and they always ensure you never miss the action.

Do you really need binoculars for your safari you might ask yourself?

You definitely need a pair of binoculars for your safari. Some animals will get up close and personal with the safari vehicles, but many more prefer to keep their distance.

A good example is big cats like leopards which like to hide in the bushes and on trees.

And even if the animals are close, the binoculars ensure you get great detail of the animals.

To Help You Get Started, below is a list of the 11 best safari binoculars.


Safari Binoculars Number 1: Athlon Optics Midas ED 8X42


Technical details:

  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42mm
  • Magnification Maximum: 8x
  • the diameter of the eyepieces:
  • prism type: Roof
  • Near focus: 6.5 ft (2m)
  • The angle of field: 8.2o
  • Eye relief: 17.2mm.
  • dimensions: (LXWXH) – 5.2×5.7*3.3 in ( 13.2×14.47×8.3 cm)
  • weight: 1.56 lbs ( 0.71 kg).
  • best to use: outdoors, hiking, birding, hunting, safari and sports.
  • Mounting Type: Tripod Mount.
  • comes with: soft-sided case, padded neck strap, cleaning cloth, and lens cap.
  • Made from:
  • Lens coating: fully multi-coated.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Fits into very many scenarios outdoor.

Cons

  • They don’t perform that well in low light conditions.
  • A somewhat stiff focusing knob.

Conclusion

This pair of binoculars will serve you well in a variety of scenarios, from hunting, sports to bird watching. Ots magnification and objective lens diameter of 8X42 is a good and recommended sweet spot for general use. Their deep eye relief will also work well with those who wear glasses, and the field of view is wide enough to capture a lot of the scene. It’s durable, fog proof, water proof and the rubber armor coating makes them shock proof against accidental drops and bumps.

Safari Binoculars Number 2: Celestron Trailseeker 8X42 Binoculars


Technical details:

  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42mm
  • Magnification Maximum: 8x
  • field of view: (feet @ 1000 yds.): 426 ft.
  • the diameter of the eyepieces:
  • prism type: roof prism
  • Near focus: 6.5 ft. (2m)
  • The angle of field: 8.1°
  • dimensions: (LXWXH) – 5 x 4.9 x 1.8 in (12.7 x 12.5 x 4.5 cm)
  • weight: 1.45lbs ( 0.66 kg)
  • best to use:
  • comes with: instructions manual, lens cap, lens cleaning clothe, carrying case, harness strap, neck strap, and eyepiece rain guard.
  • Made from:
  • Eye relief: 17mm.
  • Exit pupil: 5.25mm
  • Lens coating: fully multi-coated.

Pros

  • Good build quality.
  • Quality optics.
  • Easy to focus

Cons

  • It has slight color fringing.

Conclusion

They have a sturdy build, with great optics with quality that will be okay for a budding bird watcher. But when put up against other similarly placed binoculars they fall behind.

Safari Binoculars number 3: Nikon 8248 ACULON A211 10×50 Binocular.


Technical details:

  • Objective Lens Diameter: 50 mm
  • Magnification Maximum: 10x
  • field of view: (feet @ 1000 yds.) – 341 ft.
  • the diameter of the eyepieces:
  • prism type: Porro Prism
  • Eye relief: 11.8mm.
  • Near focus: 21 ft (7 m).
  • Focus type: center focus.
  • The angle of field:
  • dimensions: (LXWXH) – 8.6 x 4.25 x 4.25 in (21.8 x 10.79 x 10.79 cm)
  • weight: 2.79lbs ( 1.26 kg).
  • best to use:
  • comes with:
  • Made from:
  • Exit pupil: 5mm.
  • Lens coating: fully multi-coated.

Pros

  • Wide field of view
  • Produce clear image in good light.
  • Body is easy to grip.
  • A value grip.

Cons

  • Close focus is 21 ft away.
  • They are bulky and heavy.
  • They have slight color aberration.
  • not water resistant

Conclusion

These binoculars are big and heavy with impressive magnification. They have a wide field of view, but the negative thing is the far close focus distance. For budding astrologists, these binoculars are a perfect beginning pair.

Safari Binoculars number 4: Swarovski 8.5×42 EL Binocular


Technical details:

  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42mm
  • Magnification Maximum: 8,5 x
  • field of view: (feet @ 1000 yds.): 399 ft.
  • the diameter of the eyepieces:
  • prism type: roof prism
  • Near focus: 4.9 ft (1.5 m).
  • The angle of field: 7.6o
  • Focus type: manual focus.
  • dimensions: (LXWXH) – 15 x 11 x 7 in (38 x 27.9 x 17.79 cm)
  • weight: 1.4 lbs ( 0.77 kg).
  • best to use:
  • comes with: lift carrying strap, field bag, objective lens cover, and eyepiece cover.
  • Made from:
  • Eye relief: 20mm
  • Exit pupil: 4.9mm.

Pros

  • They have impressive clarity and brightness.
  • Incredible build quality.
  • Comfortable to grip and use

Cons

  • They carry a high asking price.

Conclusion

These binoculars produce some of the clearest and brightest images out there. Even in low light, they are able to soak up enough light to provide a great image. These are very good binoculars for bird viewing, as they lens are made from very high quality glass resulting in zero chromatic aberration.

Safari Binoculars number 5: NIKON Monarch M7 8×42.


Technical details:

  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42mm
  • Magnification Maximum: 8x
  • field of view: (feet @ 1000 yds.): 435 ft.
  • the diameter of the eyepieces:
  • prism type: roof prism
  • Eye relief: 17.1mm.
  • Focus type: center.
  • Exit pupil: 5.3mm
  • Near focus: 4.9 ft (1.5 m).
  • The angle of field: 8.3o
  • dimensions: (LXWXH) – 5.6 x 5.1 x 2.2 in ( 14.2 x 12.9 x 5.59 cm)
  • weight: 1.4 lbs ( 0.77 kg).
  • best to use:
  • comes with: neck strap, case bag, objective lens cover, and eyepiece cover.
  • Made from:

Pros

  • Light in weight.
  • Waterproof and fog proof.
  • Impressive picture quality

Cons

  • Eyecup adjustment cups come loose after some use.

Conclusion

The Nikon Monarch M7 8×42 is a good binoculars for birding, as it is both water and fog proof, has a wide field if view and has impressive image quality. They are also fairly lightweight, and have a locking mechanism on the diopter meaning once you set and lock, your settings won’t change.

Safari Binoculars Number 6: Nikon Monarch HG 10X42.


Technical details:

  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42mm
  • Magnification Maximum: 10x
  • field of view: (feet @ 1000 yds.) – 362 ft.
  • the diameter of the eyepieces:
  • prism type: Roof Prism
  • Near focus:
  • Exit pupil: 4.2mm.
  • Eye relief: 15mm.
  • Focus type: center.
  • The angle of field: 6.9o
  • dimensions: (LXWXH) – 5.7 x 5.2 x 2.21in ( 14.4 x 13.2 x 5.58 cm)
  • weight: 1.5 lbs ( 0.70 kg).
  • best to use:
  • comes with: neck strap, case bag, and objective lens cover.
  • Made from:

Pros

  • They have a sleek and slim design.
  • They have no chromatic aberration, with sharp edge to edge images.

Cons

  • They have no image stabilization.

Conclusion

These binoculars are light, with impressive build quality. They have a high resolution, crystal clear and sharp image, with impressive magnification but they suffer from prism spikes coming from bright lights: the image will suffer when bird watching on water on a bright day.

Safari Binoculars number 7: Celestron regal ed 10×42


Technical details:

  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42mm
  • Magnification Maximum: 10x
  • field of view: (feet @ 1000 yds.): 370 ft.
  • the diameter of the eyepieces:
  • prism type: roof prism
  • Exit pupil: 4.27mm
  • Eye relief: 20.2mm
  • Near focus: 4.9 ft (1.5 m)
  • Focus type: center.
  • The angle of field: 6.5o
  • dimensions: (LXWXH) – 5.9 x 5.1 x 2.2 in ( 15.2 x 12.9 x 5.59 cm)
  • weight: 1.4 lbs ( 0.77 kg).
  • best to use:
  • comes with: a carrying case with strap, objective lens cap, eyepiece cap, neck strap, carrying harness, lens cleaning cloth, and instructions manual.
  • Made from:

Pros

  • They have a wide field of view.
  • Produce a clear and sharp image.

Cons

  • Build quality issues, with some binocular’s pieces such as center wheel focus knob, or eyepiece plastics falling off.

Conclusion

These binoculars are a good middle ground in that they offer excellent performance, are well made for their price. For those looking for a good pair of binoculars, these are a good starting point

Safari Binoculars number 8: ZEISS 10×54 Victory HT Binocular



Technical details:

  • Objective Lens Diameter: 54 mm
  • Magnification Maximum: 10x
  • field of view: (feet @ 1000 yds.) – 360 ft.
  • Eye relief: 6mm
  • prism type: roof prism
  • Near focus: 11.5 ft (3.5 m).
  • The angle of field:
  • Focus type: center.
  • Exit pupil: 5.4mm.
  • dimensions: (LXWXH) – 10.4 x 7.5 x 6.6 in ( 26.4 x 19.1 x 16.7, cm)
  • weight: 2.2 lbs ( 1kg)
  • best to use:
  • comes with:
  • Made from:

Pros

  • Butter smooth focus, with no issues.
  • Impressive magnification.

Cons

  • Narrow field of view, and shallow depth if view ( you will have to use the focus wheel a lot.)
  • Heavy.

Conclusion

These binoculars offer brilliant brightness, and are extremely comfortable to use, but during the day they may have false color and off axis burring. These binoculars though are built using some class leading materials and features, with impressive magnification, and good low light performance, and are a good big eye binoculars option for birders.

Safari Binoculars number 9: Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars 8×42


Technical details:

  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42mm
  • Magnification Maximum: 8x
  • field of view: (feet @ 1000 yds.) – 409 ft.
  • the diameter of the eyepieces:
  • prism type: Roof Prism
  • Near focus: 5 ft (1.5 m).
  • The angle of field: 7.8o
  • Exit pupil: 5.25mm.
  • Focus type: center.
  • dimensions: (LXWXH) – 5.6 x 4.9 x 2.2 in ( 14.2 x 12.4 x 5.59 cm)
  • Eye relief: 18mm.
  • weight: 1.5 lbs ( 0.69 kg).
  • best to use:
  • comes with: neck strap, case bag.
  • Made from:

Pros

  • High quality construction.
  • Comfortable.
  • Easy to adjust.
  • Bright and clear images.

Cons

  • Heavy for extended use purposes.

Conclusion

These binoculars strike a great balance between performance and price, even though they are not cheap. For those serious bird watchers and animal spotters, then these binoculars are a must look at. They offer all day performance, with comfortable in hand feel and a supple focus knob.

Safari Binoculars number 10: Leica Noctivid 10 X 42.


Technical details:

  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 mm
  • Magnification Maximum: 10x
  • field of view: (feet @ 1000 yds.) – 337ft.
  • Eye relief:19mm.
  • prism type: Roof prism
  • Exit pupil: 4.2mm.
  • Near focus: 6.2 ft (1.8 m).
  • The angle of field: 6.4o
  • Focus type: center.
  • dimensions: (LXWXH) – 5.9 x 4.88 x 2.68 in ( 15 x 12.4 x 6.8 cm)
  • weight: 1.89 lbs ( 0.86kg).
  • best to use:
  • comes with: neck strap, case bag, and objective and eyepiece lens cover.
  • Made from:

Pros

  • Great build quality.
  • Impressive brightness and clarity of the image.

Cons

  • Expensive.
  • Not as comfortable as other binoculars at the same price range.

Conclusion

The Noctivids are a premium pair of binoculars and produce impressively clear and bright images, which is to be expected at that price point. On their own, they are impressive, but at that price point, they are often compared to other counterparts such as the Swarovski El, and they fall behind on the finer touches. These binoculars are good on their own, and are even better if you can find a bargain on them, but at their premium price, the competitors offer some finer touches.

Safari Binoculars Number 11: Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars


Technical details:

  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 mm
  • Magnification Maximum: 10x
  • field of view: (feet @ 1000 yds.) – 360 ft.
  • Exit pupil: 4.2mm.
  • prism type: roof prism
  • Eye relief: 15mm.
  • Near focus: 5 ft (1.5 m).
  • Focus type: center.
  • The angle of field: 6.3o
  • dimensions: (LXWXH) – 5.7 x 5.1 x 2.2 in ( 14.5 x 13.0 x 5.59 cm)
  • weight: 1.5 lbs ( 0.69 kg).
  • best to use:
  • comes with: neck strap, case bag, binocular harness, instructions sheet, tethered objective lens cover, and warranty card.
  • Made from:

Pros

  • Have a wide field of view.
  • Smooth central focus wheel.
  • Lightweight and heavy duty chassis.

Cons

  • Eye relief not suitable for those with glasses.

Conclusion

The Vortex Optics Diamondback, definitely offers a lot for your buck. They are build well, and tough with impressive image quality and no serious image defects to note. In the field, they are lightweight, with a well made and designed focus wheel making them a pleasure to use.

Safari binoculars number 12: Canon – Binoculars 10 x 42 L IS WP


Technical details:

  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 mm
  • Magnification Maximum: 10 x
  • field of view: (feet @ 1000 yds.) – 341 ft.
  • Exit pupil: 4.2mm.
  • prism type: Porro prims
  • Near focus: 8.2 ft (2.5 m)
  • The angle of field: 6.5o
  • Eye relief: 16mm.
  • dimensions: (LXWXH) – 6.9 x 5.4 x 3.4 in ( 17.6 x 13.7 x 8.4 cm)
  • weight: 2.42 lbs ( 1.1 kg).
  • best to use:
  • comes with: Batteries – 2 AA batteries.
  • Made from:

Pros

  • They are water proof.
  • Stabilized image, and quality optics.
  • Easy to hold.

Cons

  • They are heavy.
  • Will require AA batteries for operation.
  • They are expensive.

Conclusion

This is an image stabilized, battery powered binoculars that stand out from the crowd. They provide high magnification and large objective lens, together with gyro sensors to provide a judder free, clear image. They are quite expensive and at their price point, if a judder free image is the important when using your binoculars then these are for you, but if you are looking at exceptional brightness and clarity, then binoculars from brands such Swarovski, Leica or Zeiss will be for you.

Final Conclusion

Binoculars are an important accessory when viewing nature’s wonders. Depending on your needs: bird watching, star gazing, general use and price point there is a pair of binoculars out there for you.

In some cases, the more expensive a pair of binocular are does not necessarily relate to their performance as some moderately priced binoculars really punch way above their weight, while some premium binoculars give the best experience you can get.

Some more FAQs about binoculars for a safari are answered for you!


What is the difference between 8×42 and 10×42 binoculars?


Binoculars are described by two numbers separated by an x.

For example 8×42:

– The first number is the magnification, and the second number is the size of the objective lens in millimeters.

– The bigger the second number, the larger the objective lens, and the more light enters, thus the brighter the object will appear.

– However, the bigger the second number, the bigger the lenses and the heavier the binoculars will be.

What strength of binoculars do you need for your safari?

  • Most people on safari will stick to a magnification of 7 or 8 as it gives a wide field of view and reacts less to the shaky motion of the hands.
  • For people who are avid bird watchers, a bigger magnification of 10 or 12 will do.


Compact binoculars for birdwatching have a few conditions that should be taken into consideration: lightweight, size (stable when holding it), weatherproof, good clear sight, and easily wearable. Find out which binoculars are the 13 best compact binoculars for birdwatching here.


The Next theme on Binoculars that might get your interest is finding out which ones are the best binoculars for kids here. These can be used on safari, just a walk in the park with your kid, birdwatching in your garden, and so much more fun to be had!


My Final Conclusion.

I hope that you are now well informed on the topic of binoculars for a safari 🙂

If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask them below or join me on one of my social media channels below or Facebook group for more pictures of my travels to Africa!

I wish you happy travels!

Kind regards

Lizzy

4 thoughts on “The 12 Best Binoculars For A Safari- Reviews And Insights”

  1. Hi Lizzy

    Your guide has been extremely helpful for me. My husband is an avid hunter. He has been on a number of trips to Africa. I wanted to purchase a new pair of binoculars for his birthday as he is planning another hunting trip. Unfortunately during my product search, I quickly discovered how complicated they are! Thank you very much for your comprehensive guide as it is simply amazing!

    Kind Regards

    Shelley

    Reply
    • Hi Shelley,

      You are very welcome and I hope that your husband will find a perfect pair of binoculars for his trip.

      Kind regards,

      Lizzy

      Reply
  2. Hello thank you for such a wonderful and comprehensive article. It is well simplified and and well arranged. Binoculars are a great piece especially for adventures. I haven’t got to use one of these before but i’m pretty sure they are amazing and thankfully your article has given me the guidlines on purchasing one

    Reply
    • Hello Danny

      I thank you for your positive comment and I hope you will find a good pair of binoculars soon 😉

      Kind regards,

      Lizzy

      Reply

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